Tonight I saw Love in the Age of AutoCorrect, a Loose TEA Music Theatre adaptation of Stravinsky’s Mavra and Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne on the Terrace of Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu.
I’m trying to catch up (the world is changing, right? That’s not news). I joined Twitter a few days ago. (old people bewildered by technology? That’s not news).
An audience note made it clear we’re not in Kansas anymore:
please talk, text, take photos, Instagram, Facebook and most of all Share@! Use #Autocorrectoperas or tweet to @LooseTeaOpera to talk to us@ Just try not to check your email, cause you’re supposed to be having fun.
Why not? In these operas, the characters onstage were texting etc, why shouldn’t we in the audience?
I embraced the opportunity to boldly tweet / post / click, etc.
The photos on this page are mine, including one magic moment when Justin Stolz as Mavra agreed to dust the lens of my camera (i have an out of focus shot of him gamely controlling his laughter a moment after his bold ad lib).
I also have a shot of Andrew’s screen –held up to me by Keenan Viau—showing that the romantic tit for tat he was engaging was literally tit (even though I didn’t see any tats: see for yourself).
The story-lines of both operas have been reframed as modern rom-com, heavy on the techno-speak. Texting and sexting become key plot points, even though we’re still listening to Stravinsky and Mozart. The English adaptations by Alaina Viau and Markus Kopp jar with the modern references, all the while in operatic singing: which might explain some of the explosive hilarity in the room. Imagine operatic voices singing “I love you more than my Xbox.” I found it easier to take in the Stravinsky than the Mozart, but there are huge laughs to be had in both.
There was certainly no fear that a purist could reject the modernization, given that neither opera is particularly well-known.
Gregory Finney, Parent in Mavra, and Mark Z (a modern computer magician) in Andrew and Andrea was remarkable to watch, often hysterically funny even in the close proximity of the intimate presentation. Morgan Strickland was two very different characters, a determined romantic as Parasha and then a very contemporary innocent as Andrea, every word enunciated with crystal clarity. Stolz had some of the biggest laughs in drag as Mavra, at least until he realizes (s)he needs a shave (“Holy Shit I need to shave”), and is caught in the act: of shaving. Viau too, was two very different characters, between the more staid neighbour in the Stravinsky and his edgy Andrew; he has a genuine gift for physical comedy and a very likeable smile.
Jennifer Tung was solid at the piano. Meanwhile, Alaina Viau wears several hats with Loose TEA (listed in the program as director, conductor and adapter), including having had the extra drama this month of having her original venue cancelled. Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu came to their rescue, in a surprisingly congenial space, both visually & acoustically.
Love in the Age of AutoCorrect will be presented again Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday at 2:30 pm.